Kent State accepts bid to play in CIT, will face Louisiana Monroe in first round


Jalen Avery brings the ball up the court during the first half of the Flashes matchup against Buffalo on Jan. 25. The Flashes lost, 88-79.

Ian Kreider

Kent State will continue its season Thursday at 7 p.m. at the University of Louisiana at Monroe in the first round of the Tournament (CIT).

Senior guard Jaylin Walker is 32 points from becoming the all-time leading scorer in Kent State history. Senior guard Jaylen Avery currently leads the nation in assist/turnover ratio (5.16). It would be the second straight season he finished leading the nation in that statistic.

ULM is 18-15 and finished 9-9 in Sun Belt play. The Warhawks lost to Georgia Southern, 81-67, in the Quarterfinals of the Sun Belt Tournament.

Daishon Smith is averaging 21.3 points per game and finished the regular season first in the Sun Belt in 3-pointers made (104), while shooting almost 40 percent from deep. Smith also has four games with 30 or more points this season, including a 42 point performance against Little Rock on Jan. 3.

The Warhawks have three other players who are averaging more than 12 ppg this season. They were 0-4 in games against “Power 5” opponents in the regular season, with the loses coming by an average margin of 16.5 ppg.

The Flashes will be making their fifth appearance in the CIT and their 17th postseason appearance in the past 21 years. In 2015 the Flashes made it to the CIT Quarterfinal where they lost to Northern Arizona in overtime. The Flashes’ overall record in the CIT is 3-4.

Coach Rob Senderoff earned his first career postseason win in 2013 when the Flashes beat Fairfield in the first round of the CIT.

The 26-team CIT consists of programs from non “Power 5” conferences. All games are played at home sites and there is no official bracket. After the first games conclude the CIT Committee convenes to determine what teams will play in the second round.

The CIT championship game is on April 4.

The Flashes last postseason appearance came during the 2016-2017 season when they lost to UCLA in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.

In total, four MAC teams will play in the postseason. Buffalo won the MAC Tournament and is the conference’s lone representative in the NCAA Tournament. The Bulls, who finished the season ranked No. 15 in the AP Top 25, are a six seed and will face the winner of the play-in game between Arizona State and St. John’s.

Toledo earned a bid to the National Invitational Tournament (NIT) and will face Xavier in the first round. Central Michigan, the team that eliminated Kent State in the Quarterfinals of the MAC Tournament, accepted an invitation to the College Basketball Invitational (CBI). The Chippewas will play DePaul on Wednesday. Bowling Green, the runner-up in the MAC Tournament, declined an invitation to a postseason tournament.

All CIT games can be streamed on, with the championship game being broadcasted on CBS Sports Network.

Ian Kreider is a sports reporter. Contact him at [email protected].